Have you ever looked at the night sky and wanted to see it more up close? Perhaps you have, yet did not want to invest in a telescope.
Telescopes can be bulky, heavy, and expensive. Furthermore, it can feel a bit awkward looking through a telescope since you can only use one eye.
Fortunately, there is another option for those who don’t like telescopes: astronomy binoculars.
These devices allow people to see the night sky up close with both eyes.
If you are interested in astronomy binoculars, this guide will cover all of the important information you need to know.
We will describe how they compare with telescopes and explain how you can take astrophotography with the device.
This guide will also cover what you can observe with these binoculars and list a few main accessories you can get for the instrument.
Keep on reading to become an astronomy binocular expert!
Can You Observe Skies With Binoculars
You can easily observe skies with binoculars.
Without binoculars, humans can see around 3,000 stars with the naked eye. However, if we use a pair of binoculars, we can see over 100,000 stars in the sky.
A pair of astronomy binoculars can transform the night sky into a new world of exploration.
Instead of seeing the moon as a white blur, you can look at its craters and even its lava plains.
You will also be able to see a wide variety of planets that you have never seen up close before, such as Jupiter and its four moons.
While you may have to travel far from populated cities to view certain things, such as the Milky Way, you can see many different treasures of the night sky with a pair of binoculars.
Here is a list of just a few things you can observe with a good pair of astronomy binoculars:
- Planets – Some great planets to check out with your binoculars are Jupiter, Saturn, venus, and mars. While you won’t be able to see as much detail as you would with a telescope, the binoculars will intensify these planets’ unique characteristics, making them easier to see. (For example, mars will look even more red-orange when you look through your binoculars.)
- The moon – As mentioned above, one of the best targets to look at is the moon. Since it is so close to the earth, you will be able to see details on the surface of the moon. Try to look at the moon’s terminator, the dividing line of shadow and light.
- Open star clusters – Another amazing phenomenon to check out through your binoculars is open star clusters. Open star clusters refer to a group of stars that were born from the same cloud of gas. Some clusters will have over 70 stars.
- Double stars – You can also check out some pairs of double stars, such as Mizar and Alcor. You can spot the difference in size, color, and brightness between different stars through your binoculars.
- Nebulae – Nebulae refers to light or dark clouds in space. You can use your binoculars to enhance the view of certain nebulae, such as the Orion Nebula.
- Galaxies – Another thing you can see with your binoculars is galaxies. The next time you take your astronomy binoculars out for a try, search for the Andromeda Galaxy, a neighboring galaxy.
How Does It Compare to a Telescope?
Many people interested in astronomy are often confused about whether to invest in a telescope or astronomy binoculars.
Even though both devices allow you to view the night sky up close, each device will offer a much different experience.
This section will review the major differences between a telescope and astronomy binoculars and will help you decide what optical instrument is best for you.
Field of View
The first major difference between the two devices is the field of view.
When it comes to astronomy binoculars, these devices provide a much larger field of view than telescopes.
In other words, you will be able to see a much larger area of the sky. In comparison, telescopes only show a small area of the sky.
For example, if you were trying to look at an open star cluster, you would probably see the entire cluster in the lens when using binoculars.
However, you would get a much smaller image with a telescope and probably only see a quarter of the full cluster.
The next major difference between telescopes and binoculars is orientation.
When you look through a telescope at the night sky, you see a reflection, meaning that up is down and left is right.
In other words, the image you are seeing does not reflect reality.
On the other hand, the image you see when looking through binoculars is the same orientation as you would see with the naked eye.
In general, high-quality telescopes will be more expensive than astronomy binoculars. You can even find high-power telescopes that are over $10,000.
While it may vary depending on the brand, astronomy binoculars are typically more affordable, making them an ideal choice for beginners.
Another advantage of astronomy binoculars is that they are much lighter than telescopes. You can easily bring this device along on the road with you.
When it comes to telescopes, you will need to have a bit more storage in your car.
This is because telescopes are heavier, and you will have to bring a few more pieces of equipment along with them as well.
If you are looking strictly for image quality, telescopes will be the way to go. What these devices lack in field of view, they make up for with sharp images.
Since most telescopes have a higher magnification power, the image you see will be more detailed, sharp, and simply have better overall quality.
If you want to see things like Saturn’s ring in detail, a telescope can give you that.
However, if you look at Saturn with a pair of binoculars, you will only see the ring as a vague, blurred line.
Can You Take Astrophotography With Binoculars
You can take astrophotography with binoculars and a smartphone.
Here is what you need:
- Binocular tripod
- Eyepiece adapter for smartphone
It is quite simple to snap a good photo with your phone and binoculars. To start, mount your binoculars on a tripod and choose what you want to take a picture of.
If you are a beginner to astrophotography, taking a picture of the moon is always a good start.
Once you have chosen a constellation or planet to snap a photo of, adjust your binocular settings.
Make sure everything is in focus and as clear as possible.
Now you can attach your smartphone to the eyepiece adapter. The adapter should allow you to take a photo of what you see through the eyepiece lens.
Accessories for Astronomy Binoculars
Now that you know how astronomy binoculars work let’s look at some accessories you might need.
The most important piece of equipment you will need for your astronomy binoculars is a tripod.
Since you are using your binoculars in low-light conditions, the tripod will provide stability for your device, allowing more light into the lens.
While you can buy a separate tripod after purchasing a pair of binoculars, it is best to buy the two products together.
Buying a separate tripod may be a bit difficult since you will need to make sure your binoculars will fit.
Lastly, make sure to get a stable tripod with thick legs.
If you want to get into astrophotography, you will need to buy an eyepiece adapter.
This accessory will allow you to take photos with your smartphone through the eyepiece lens.
If you own a DSLR camera and want more professional photos, you can also purchase a camera adapter for the camera lens and binocular eyepiece.
Another important accessory to have is a case. Whenever you are traveling or not using your astronomy binoculars, they should be safely tucked away in a padded case.
A case can prevent damage such as broken lenses and protect your device from scratches and dents.
Astronomy binoculars are great for novice astronomers.
While they won’t provide crystal clear images of Jupiter’s surface, you can view things like open star clusters, double stars, nebulae, and galaxies.
There are a few major differences between astronomy binoculars and telescopes.
First, binoculars offer a larger field of view, meaning that you can see a larger area of the night sky at one time.
On the other hand, telescopes can provide higher-quality images, and you can see more detail with these instruments.
Another major benefit of astronomy binoculars is that you can take astrophotography with them. All you need is a tripod, smartphone, and an eyepiece adapter.
You should also always remember to store your binoculars in a case when you are not using them.
These devices have a lot of expensive parts that can break; a case will prevent costly repairs.
Overall, astronomy binoculars are a great choice for anyone who wants to study the night sky.
Compared to telescopes, they are lighter weight, more affordable option.